Health Facts: The ABCs of bone health

For better bones, activity, bone density, and calcium intake are key

BONES … The framework of your body is a living tissue that is constantly broken down, replaced, and needs daily nourishment. While it’s important to build strong and healthy bones during your youth, you should protect your bone in adulthood, too.

HOW CAN WE ASSESS BONE HEALTH?

A bone mineral density, or DXA, test is an X-ray of the hip or spine that provides a snapshot of your bone health. The test identifies osteopenia/osteoporosis, determines your fracture risk, and measures treatment response.

LET’S TALK ABOUT THE Os OF BONES

Osteopenia refers to decreased bone density. This increases bone fragility and the risk of fractures. Not everyone with osteopenia requires treatment with medications. But, it is a warning sign that intervention is needed to prevent osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis refers to irreversibly weakened and brittle bones, and is associated with a significantly higher risk of fractures, even from minor stress.

RISK FACTORS

• Aging males and females

• Tobacco, alcohol use, low calcium and vitamin D intake, and physical inactivity

• Hormonal imbalance: Elevated thyroid hormones, decreased estrogen and testosterone levels

• Prolonged use of medications such as corticosteroid, some antidepressants, anti-seizure, and reflux drugs

TIPS FOR HEALTHY BONES

• Pregnant women: Take your prenatal vitamins and eat food rich in vitamin C, D, zinc, and phosphorus.

• A dropper from your mama! Human milk typically contains 25 IU of vitamin D. Therefore, daily supplementation of 400 IU is recommended for breastfed infants from the first few days of life.

• Feed your bones: 1,000 to 1,200 mg/day of calcium and 800 to 1,000 IU/day of vitamin D for individuals age 50 and older.

• Exercise: Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, and muscle-strengthening exercise, such as weight lifting, at least three to four times weekly for 30 minutes.

• Limit daily alcohol intake to two for men, and one for women per day.

• Smoking cessation

• Talk to your primary care doctor about your need for screening, your risk for bone disease and falls, and have your gait assessed. Also, have your vitamin D levels checked!

FACT: We begin to lose bone mass after they reach peak bone density at about 30 years of age. The thicker your bones are at age 30, the longer it takes to develop osteopenia or osteoporosis.

This article is sponsored by Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center.

CREDIT

column by DR. TRISHANNA SOOKDEO

BIO: Dr. Trishanna Sookdeo is a board-certified family medicine physician who also has a Master’s in Public Health. She provides compassionate and quality care to the whole family, ages 3 days and up. If you have any questions or wish to schedule an appointment with her, call (863) 419-2420, ext. 2, and ask for Dr. Sookdeo.

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